The Same But Different

different

February has flown by with nary a post from me.

And it’s not that I have nothing happening or nothing to say. Quite the contrary. I feel nearly drowned under a deluge of happenings: changes, promises, possibilities. I am choosing my words carefully these days, choking back the bulk of them.

While I’m the world’s biggest proponent of putting it out there and saying what you feel, I have learned hard lessons recently about being selective about the what, the how, the when and, most of all, the whom with which you share.

So I’ll let that hang there all cryptic-like and talk about something else for awhile.

And what else is there to talk about but the Baby Love of my life?! She’s nearly six months now. Already.

I have been warned about how quickly time would fly and I believed it. But when you see it actually happening, actually flying before your eyes, you get a little breathless, a little disbelieving, a little, “how can this be?”

More and more, as the little one grows rounder and taller and stronger and, oh my god, funnier, I am realizing just how much I have changed.

Before Lucette came, I worried about it. I spent a very long time getting fine with who I was and I was apprehensive about the new Mother Me who would emerge. I didn’t know who I would become.

And I know, I know the becoming has only just begun. But how far I’ve already come!

There was a moment, just days after Lucette was born, when I realized what a fundamental shift had already occured within me. We were freshly home from the hospital, just the three of us. We were sitting on the couch, watching HGTV (we watched hours of that channel in the early days of babyland, which is why I’m now addicted to Holmes on Homes).

Lucette had fallen asleep in my arms and as I stared down at her, tears began rolling from my eyes.

Bruce looked over and saw me crying and said, “What’s wrong?!”

“Nothing.” I replied. “Nothing at all. I’m just looking at her and she’s so beautiful. And I’m so ha-a-a-ppy.” And then I dissolved in a big puddle of mush.

Bruce scooted over, put his arm around us, and together we sat and stared at that tiny round head and wept.

And I knew, I knew right then that I was a new person.

Not entirely new, of course. The old Lo is still here. But I’ve expanded, somehow. I’ve gotten wider. Not the childbirth hip factor, although that’s true, too. It’s like my soul has doubled in size. There’s more room in me now. More capacity for love, for emotion, for mothering.

Augh. And here’s where the words run out on me, because that’s not even it exactly. Perhaps because I can’t quite wrap my brain around this metamorphosis yet, I can’t explain it coherently. It will likely take years to suss out.

But I’m content knowing, for now, that I have changed. And that the change is good. There is not the sense of loss that I feared, pre-baby. Instead there is a fullness. A completeness. A being-okay-with-the-not-quite-there-yet-ness.

And every morning when I wake up to those Cheeks (even on days like today, when the Cheeks wake me up before dawn), I am overwhelmed by my good fortune.

I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be this little one’s momma.

-Lo, who found the words after all.

If Wishes Were Fishes

mood: stretched | drinking: extra-strength tea

wishes

There’s no use pretending otherwise. I’m exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. I’m worn too thin.

And I’m mostly out of words–the good ones, anyway. It’s very rare that I run out of words totally and completely. So I’ve got a few left in me, as you can see. But I can’t promise that they’ll be anything worth getting all worked up over.

So I sit here on the eve on my *whispermumble*nth birthday (that would be Tuesday, November 10th, if you’re keeping track) and try to gather my wits and set down a few thoughts that have some semblance of order.

Every year, on my birthday, since as long as I can remember, I have the overwhelming compulsion to get all reflective and write something profound, some gorgeous and overwrought statement about myself and my life and the meaning of it all. This year is, in that respect, no different than all the previous years.

In all other respects, however, this year has been very different. It’s been quite a son of a bitch.

The last few weeks alone have been, well, I don’t have the right word that will adequately define the last few weeks. Insanified? Critchy? Whoppadoozical? I don’t know.

It all started about the time we closed escrow on our new house. Which is good and lovely and amazing and yay and all that. However, we haven’t moved yet b/c we wanted to do some work on said house before unloading all our boxes. Electricians were hired, plumbers were called, I took a week off work and painted for 7 straight days. Etcetera.

In the midst of all that, my mom and dad came out to visit from Illinois, so there was a lot of back-and-forth between my house and my sister’s place, 2 hours away.

My grandmother came out with my parents, and ended up falling ill while she was here, so there was a bit of consternation.

Then my in-laws were in town for a little bit, at the same time as my parents. Then Boy had to go out of town for a bit. And I had to go back to work. And LeeLoo developed a giant hematoma overnight on her ear that required surgery and stitches and the cone of shame. As soon as that one was healed, she grew herself another one on the other ear.

So as you can see, it’s been Whoppadoozical.

Now I’m back at work and trying to pack up the apartment as well, because we move on Saturday. So taking the time to write this post feels like a self-indulgent luxury. But necessary, somehow.

Anyway, as I started to say a few paragraphs ago, it all really started before all the visitors and plumbers and painting. It started right before that with a couple of fairly life-shaking events.

And I don’t mean to be a tease, but I’m not going to tell the world wide web about those events right now. I’m not ready to talk about them yet. I have barely had time to figure out what they mean to me. But I likely will refer back to them at some point in the near future.

It’s just important for me to realize, in the context of my impending birthday, that I have never experienced such a year of change and upheaval and alteration. I guess if I go back all the way, it started just over a year ago, the first week of November 2008 when my Nana died, I got laid off from my job, and attended a funeral on my birthday.

Things just haven’t gone back to normal since then. But I have hopes that they will. It will be a new kind of normal, but still…

So I suppose that is my birthday wish this year. A return to normal. Some semblance of peace. Me and Boy and dog and fog and a little bit of quiet. That’s all I ask for.

And, let’s be honest, a few un-normal things like a new adventure across the sea wouldn’t be out of the question, either. Don’t want to get too boring in my old age, after all…

-Lo, in need of new words and more time to write them.

Further On Down the Road

gravelroad
Mood: Pensive
Drinking: Liquids only

Sometimes I don’t know what to write.

I’ve been at it far too long to put pen to paper only when the muse shows up, only when the kettle is hot and inspiration feverish. If I always waited for those blistering moments, I’d have far fewer words to show for myself.

Writing, no matter how you love it, is work. Like any sport or discipline, it takes commitment. Time set aside at the keyboard or desk. Hours laboring over paper, in front of screens, battling the smooth white blankness, the insistent flashing cursor.

Perhaps that’s why I have no novels to my credit. I have not bent myself to the task like an Olympic athlete, have not roused myself repeatedly before dawn to make my rounds in sweat and ink. I have not focused with entirely single-minded purpose on a bright shining goal. Hell, I don’t even write every day — at least not “real” writing.

I have crafted a life around words, but they are not always words written for myself (which is what I define as “real”). I make my living writing pretty sentences for other people. My clever lines make these people money, and they break me off a piece of it, and with that piece I make room for what is “real”, what is my own.

Just this week someone asked me how I came to make a living by writing poetry, and I laughed. Poetry doesn’t pay the bills. Poetry is a necessary luxury. I do it because I love it, I need it, I want it. It is a habit that incurs its own expenses and very rarely pays its own way. But I could never hold that against it. I never expected to make a living by writing poetry.

Perhaps that’s the difference between me and the elite-athlete-writers. The gold medal winners. They expected to make a living at this. They bring all their determination and drive to bear on the single purpose of “succeeding” at poetry. And so they write faster-higher-stronger than I do. And they win shiny accolades and coveted places on printed pages. And more people know their names.

But I am happy just to be writing poetry at all. I work hard to improve my work, yes, and I occasionally strive for a prize. But I am not remarkable, really. I’m not among the elite.

Most of the time, I’m okay with that. The compromise allows me to have a broader life.

I’m not sure, at this point on the page, where I’m going with this. I intended to write a post about a memorial service I attended last week for the brother of a dear friend of mine. I intended to write about how it was the first memorial service I’ve been to at which there was no mention of God or heaven or a “better place” from which the deceased wisely looks down upon us all. I intended to write about how the man who died believed that all life is meaningless, therefore, he should try his best to make other people happy.

Instead my head and my screen are full of images of Phelpsian athletes out-stroking me on the keyboard, writing far beyond my own capabilities and draping themselves in golden satisfaction.

Are they better than me because of all their accomplishment and need? Am I less because I’ve chosen a less resistant road of family and friends and travel and work, or am I better because I have found a way to fit my craft around all the many pieces of my life, instead of starving myself for art’s sake and squeezing actual living into what space remains in the corners not occupied by my fierce ambition?

I suppose it depends on who you’re talking to.

If you’re talking to me, I would tell you I do not regret the path I’ve taken, and I do not feel lessened because of it.

At a writing conference I attended last August, the majority of the poets in my workshop sessions were older — retired, gray haired, wide-girthed. The more successful, better published poet leading the workshop asked us to go around the room and describe our daily writing process. Person after person talked about the hours they set aside during their day to write poetry, hours between dawn and the leisurely mall-walking expedition, hours between grandchildren and cribbage — hours and hours and hours with nothing else to fill them except pen and paper.

When my turn came, I shrugged and said — “I don’t have a daily process. I’m too busy. I just write when I can.”

Perhaps someday, when I am grayer and wider, I’ll write every day from 8 ’til noon, and then go weed my garden.

But for now, my writing will remain just one of the moving parts of my life. That way I’ll still have stories to tell when the bulk of years is behind me.

-Lo, feeling older already.

Absolutely Nothing

Mood: Hazy
Drinking: Tea

Sometimes a girl runs out of words.

Sometimes there’s nothing to say. Nothing of any great weight or consequence, anyway. But here I am, fingers to the letters. Spelling out nothing with the most diligent attention.

I suppose it’s better than filling up space with one of those inane surveys that litter the myspace sites, spilling pointless secrets to perfect strangers, like the color of my current underwear (black) or whether or not I have a crush on someone in my Top 8. (not)

Or I could pass the time by making a laundry list of what I did on my weekend (chopped off my hair, smeared paint on my toes–or, more accurately, paid people to do both of those things for me–walked the dog, washed Boy’s jeans).

Usually I refuse to post a word unless I actually have Something to say. Today I’m just writing to see if there’s anything in there, anything that will rise to the surface and surprise me.

…I’ve got nothing.

Yesterday at 5:30 a.m. I was feeling incredibly inspired. The two Ms and I had crawled out of bed while it was still dark outside so we could shoot a cinepoem out in the bay and catch the sunrise. It was a good plan, but the fog rolled in overnight and there was no sunrise to be seen…just a faint pinkish haze as the fog went from greyish-black to greyish-blue.

But it was inspiring, nonetheless. Nobody out but the fishermen and the birds. Beadlets of fog collecting on our eyelashes and pushing our hair to new puffy extremes. Waves splashing like a heartbeat against algae-covered green rocks. Little red crab-creatures scuttling sideways from crevice to crevice. It was all so perfectly peaceful and, although it didn’t look exactly the way we hoped it would with the lack of brightening sunrise and all, it was just as magnificent in its own way, with muted foggy colors and a wet morning silence lying heavy over our whole little world.

Yes, I could have written a novel, yesterday.

But today there is no fog (which means there was probably a glorious sunny show at 6 a.m.). There are no crabs, save the office variety, and no wakeful birdsongs. Just me. The computer. A stack of work. A lack of inspiration. And a whole lot of nothing coming out the ends of my fingers.

-Lo, who has come back to the bob thing again.